Phone Phoney

There is something very jarring about receiving a phone call from an unknown number, extra terrifying if it just says “Out of Area” because you don’t even get a zip code to hypothesize about. It’s like a knock on your door from a burly dude wearing a mask , except that you’re armed with an “end call” button instead of a hair straightener heated up to 470 degrees.

I have been a lifetime phone phobic and also a phoneyphobic, but that’s not a tale for the now. I guess I like to have face-to-face conversations with people.

If you are a “typical” American, I imagine most calls from new-2-you phone numbers are from the dry cleaner, the credit card company or telemarketers. As an actor who is a believer in buying hand wash OK clothes, my calls are a bit different. It could be a call saying I booked something, that a CD called my agent to say that I suck (hope this never happens) or it could be my vet saying my cat’s check-up was great. Actors are people with cats, too.

An unknown number can be a game-changer, and that’s a little bit terrifying, but probably not as terrifying as my home defense system. Note to self: get a baseball bat.


15 thoughts on “Phone Phoney

  1. improvdandies says:

    D: I refuse to answer calls from phone numbers I don’t recognize. Fortunately it has yet to be someone calling from a hospital. My friends know that if they want to contact me, text or e-mail is better than the phone. – signed, a former yakker

  2. Chris says:

    Glad you raised this. I share the same sentiment against unsolicited calls. And I know a lot others who do, too. As a matter of fact, you can find them voicing out their complaints at It’s just sad that despite the telemarketers/phony callers being the most complained-about callers, they still exist and they continue to harass people.

  3. Rich Allan says:

    As a retired person, actor, author, father, musician, home owner…I used to get, on average, ten-twenty calls a day between my cell and home phone. Most of those are unsolicited. I have memorized the pitches. “You said to call back in a few months to see if you needed any remodeling.” “How high is your electric bill? Do you realize how much you could save with solar.” “Do you own a walk-in tub?” “When was the last time you had your hearing tested?”

    I was never afraid of the calls, but got irritated enough with each unwanted interruption to raise my blood pressure several points…until I had a great idea.

    Now when I get an unsolicited call, instead of quickly hanging up while the auto dialer clicks in my ear, before the salesperson comes on the line…I wait with glee to mess with their day.

    I now answer as another call center, responding to their pitch, with one of my own…”Do you own your own home? Are you tired of repainting every few years? Do you realize how much money you could save with aluminum siding? “When can we come visit to give you an estimate?”

    Amazing how quickly they hang up.

    By the way, my unsolicited calls have dropped by 50% as the word spreads…and I almost sold siding to one caller. Ashley, as an actor, you should try it….good improv practice…turn your frown upside down!.

    — Rich Allan, author of the comedy-adventure, “Drafted.”

  4. M. R. says:

    Nononono!! a hair straightener heated up to 470 degrees has gotta be far and away more effective than a baseball bat! And it’s entirely unnecessary to add the actors are people who have cats: everyone knows that! [grin]
    In Oz, you know, we have a service called DONOTCALL: you sign up to it and your landline is registered and no telemarketer is allowed to call you. Oh: except political parties, and charities, and volunteer organisations, and religions organisations, and … Sighh …

  5. Denny Sinnoh says:

    I never answer if it is a “private number”. However, I would be interested to know what was THE WORST THING THAT HAPPENED when you dd actually answer the “unknown” number. Was it really so bad? IIt may be the start of an amusing story : )

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